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What started as a dispute over about $300 in unpaid wages, has cost Southern California lawyer Thomas Beck five years of grief and, by his estimate, about $100,000.

In a decision issued last month and published Wednesday, the Second District Court of Appeal upheld a $57,420 appellate fee award against Beck. The court, weighing in on Beck’s case for the second time, sided with his former employee’s lawyer, finding that the employee was entitled to appellate attorneys fees.

Beck maintained the Second District’s directive in its prior ruling that “the parties are to bear their own costs of appeal” foreclosed the possibility for his former employee getting appellate fees and stripped the trial court of jurisdiction over the issue. In its opinion, however, the Second District upheld the trial court which had found that the attorneys fees were a separate issue from costs and that the employee was entitled to them by statute.

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Ross Todd

Ross Todd is the Editor/columnist for the Am Law Litigation Daily. He writes about litigation of all sorts. Previously, Ross was the Bureau Chief of The Recorder, ALM's California affiliate. Contact Ross at [email protected] On Twitter: @Ross_Todd.

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